Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Mitt Romney Is Wrong About Syria


Sad to say, but Mitt Romney is wrong with his position regarding Syria and wanting to arm the "rebels."

Mitt Romney declared today the U.S. must join other nations in helping arm Syrian rebels to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, casting President Barack Obama’s efforts as weak and part of a broader lack of leadership in the Middle East and around the globe.
Hoping to bolster his own foreign policy credentials, the Republican presidential challenger said he would identify and organize those in the Syrian opposition who share American values, then work with American allies to "ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets."
If you haven't read this, you might want to... and Mitt Romney should:
[map] The basic error Mr. Romney is making is to believe by offering arms to those fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad that will somehow make them our friends.  There is ample evidence in the so-called Arab Spring countries that this is not the case.  There is ample evidence that what is occurring in Syria is another "frying pan to fire" situation for U.S. "diplomacy."

The U.S. has very few "friends" in the Middle East.  The U.S. has some "allies of convenience."  Arming the Syrian "rebels" is simply shifting power from one U.S. antagonist to another.  So, why waste the money?  Especially when the outcome is likely to be an expansion of the religious fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda which will consolidate and coordinate anti-U.S. efforts.

Nothing has changed to change my mind on this subject since this was written:


Of course, President Obama has taken precisely the same tack as Mitt Romney on this, so this is just more of the same... or as children sing, "same song, second verse; a little louder, a little worse."

So, what is the answer?  Simple... let Assad's forces and the so-called "rebels" slug it out and, hopefully, leave the "winner" licking its wounds and relatively toothless.  This is exactly what the U.S. should have done with regard to Saddam Hussein and Iran... let them continue to face off and nullify each other.  Sure, Syrians are committing national suicide and many innocent people will be killed.  Of course, many of those supposedly innocent people were probably cheering along with their Palestinian buddies when the "twin towers" came down on September 11, 2001.  So let's not get all ditzy "humanitarian" with our sentiments and think we are doing the "right thing."  The "right thing" is to stand back and watch the smoke and dust keep rising.  We have no overriding national interest in which one of our antagonists rules in Syria... frying pan or fire.

It is in our national interest to keep all Islamist groups in disarray. In the case of Syria and Assad, the U.S. is probably better off with "the devil we know."  He is driven by power, not religious fanaticism.  It is easier to deal with power seekers.

Let's face it, the U.S. government is no better at picking Middle East "winners" than it is at picking "alternative energy winners."  Not with amateurs Obama and Clinton at the helm.  President Obama has made a serious mistake supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  He is making another serious mistake supporting the so-called "rebels" in Syria.

Now would be a good time for Mitt Romney to re-think his version of U.S. strategy in the Middle East... not expand on Obama's.  If the U.S. wants to support rebellion, Iran's theocracy should be the target, not Syria... and the U.S. should strongly consider eliminating any aid to Egypt as long as Sharia-Islamists are in power.  It's time to look at the BIGGER PICTURE... and see the NEW TYRANNIES.  They are not new "friends."

2012 IS HERE


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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)